Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Literary Cookie Season

Later this week I'll be whipping up a batch or two of shortbread for a tea party in celebration of Jane Austen's birthday. It may seem an unnecessary occasion to celebrate, but really, when it comes to excuses for baking cookies of all varieties, what better excuse than something literary? Books and bite-size treats seem to go hand in hand, especially when little cookies allow the reader to indulge without huge threat of pages sticking together as a result of jam hands. At least in theory.

Also in favor of a literary cookie is the fact that so many cookies exist that one can generally appropriately match a treat to the text in question. A prime example: Russian tea cakes to celebrate the final discussion of Tolstoy's War and Peace in my friend's lit class. That's what we made last Tuesday, and I heard they were a hit. There's something remarkable about having a satisfied mind and satisfied palate.

What cookie/book pairings can you think of?

Russian Tea Cakes

1 c butter
2 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 c pecans, finely ground

Beat the butter (at room temperature) until it is fluffy. Add 1/2 c of the powdered sugar and the vanilla to the butter and beat the mixture until well-blended. Beat in the flour, then beat in the nuts.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll the dough into medium uniform balls and place on a parchment-papered cookie sheet. Bake each batch 18 minutes, then allow the cakes to cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
Toss the still-warm cookies in the remaining powdered sugar and set on a cooling rack until fully cool. Store in an air-tight container.


Mike Dodaro said...

What a fantastic concept. I'll think about that and get back to you.

Anonymous said...

these look just like lokoumia a greek pastry